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Joaquin Phoenix Rumored To Play Joker In Standalone Film Produced By Hollywood Legend

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When it comes to big screen supervillains, The Joker has left some big, purple shoes to fill. Thanks to historic performances by legendary actors Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, portraying the Clown Prince of Crime comes with a certain level of responsibility and a challenge very few actors can live up to. But if rumors are true, the Joker’s legacy is about to turn to the hands of award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix.

A Standalone Joker Film

A standalone Joker film is reportedly in the works. The movie will explore the Joker’s backstory and his path to becoming Batman’s infamous arch-nemesis. As if that wasn’t enough to get people excited, the motion picture will be produced by none other than Martin Scorcese. Rather than yet another DC blockbuster doomed to fail (Suicide Squad, anyone?), it will reportedly be set outside of the DC film universe and soaked with the “gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime” feel of Scorcese’s signature masterpieces Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. 

Scott Phillips, the man behind The Hangover series, has been tapped to direct and co-write. Certainly not the first name that comes to mind when you want a moody, Gotham City crime story, but that only makes the production all the more intriguing.

Phoenix Only Rumored

While an official confirmation by Warner Brothers hasn’t been made, and negotiations have not yet begun, Variety reports Phoenix has already accepted the role. Either way, Phillips has expressed a very strong interest in the actor, so it’s an entirely plausible rumor. The second co-writer is The Fighter screenwriter Scott Silver, who can certainly bring the level of psychological depth such a story calls for.

For fans of Jared Leto’s portrayal of the sadistic clown, don’t worry. Leto is still set to reprise the role in Suicide Squad 2 and a spin-off called Gotham City Sirens. 

Meant To Be?

Joaquin Phoenix has passed on playing not one but two iconic comic-book characters in the past — Lex Luthor and Doctor Strange. “I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling,” Phoenix told Time Out in 2015. Whether Warner Brothers can convince Phoenix that The Joker will give him the superhero film fulfillment he’s looking for is unknown, but until then, here’s some fan art to drool over.

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